Sunday, March 29, 2009

Week in review

Just a quick update as to what I have been doing.

Things have slowed down this week at the FD so that's been nice and I've been able to get some sleep for a change.

As far as training goes, did good running Monday and Tuesday and then it seemed the weather turned bad and didn't get to do anything.

Monday, Annette and I did a lunch run. Ended up pretty much being a tempo run even though we said it was going to be easy. I guess my legs felt too good and the weather was actually 72 degrees warm. Ended up running 3.13 miles with a 9:36 average pace. Not bad for an easy lunch run.

Tuesday was another lunch run and another 3.1 miles. Temps were 65 and very windy. We backed the pace down a little on this one and averaged a 10:07.

Saturday was the Spring Fling 5k in Cabot and I elected to work the race and not run it. For some reason I was just not excited about racing. Even though I have been getting faster, the Grand Prix guys in my age group are just so fast its crazy. I have to run a sub 22 5k to even get a 5th place award. I was also coordinating with Police and Fire for the race so that gave me something to do. Also on Friday I went out and bought me a new digital SLR camera. A Nikon D-40 with an extra 55-200mm lens. This gave me something to do during the race. Since the race finishes on the High School track, usually all the race photos are taken there but I opted to do something different. I was back up on two intersections anyway in case the police had to leave so I found me a spot on East Main where the runners ran up an pretty good incline. Had woods as a background so it made some pretty good shots. It was also interesting watching the runners struggle up that hill. I think the pictures turned out pretty good for my first crack at race photos. I'll have to say, it was fun!

If you want to see the photos I took you can see them here:

Today (Sunday) Annette and I did our long run. Or at least its long for me. It had turned pretty cold on Saturday but it was warming so we waited and ran around 10:30am. Ended up doing 9 miles with a 10:32 average pace. This was a very comfortable run and actually the pace would have been much better if it hadn't been for having to stop to cross one of the highways. We purposely tried to keep the pace comfortable and it worked out to be a great run on a beautiful day.

We leave on Tuesday to go to Fort Jackson South Carolina for Brett's basic training graduation. I am looking forward to getting away but I will still have to do some work while we are gone. It never ends. We might even come back through the Smokey Mountains if we have time. I would love to get some good pictures there! I'll be taking a bunch at the graduation I know.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Behind again in more ways then one

Title sums it up for me. Pretty much running behind on everything. Sleep, training, time, you name it. Too many things to get done and not enough time in the day. Quick updates from last week:

Guess its good that last week was a back down week anyway after the half. I was only able to get two runs in all week and weekend. Tuesday was a lunch run. Basically wanted it just to be a recovery run as my legs were pretty sore still from the half. I got in 3.4 miles @10:25 pace while Annette was right around 3. First two miles were 10:40ish pace as Annette was having stomach problems. Picked it up from there and did a 10:01 and 9:50. Good day to run, weather was just over 50 degrees.

Thursday evening I rode with Annette to Michele's house and ran with them to the track for their Women Can Run Clinic and then I ran on home. Ended up with 5 miles @10:21 pace. This included about a 3 minute wait to cross Hwy 89. I was just trying to stay around a 10 - 10:30 pace. Splits:
1- 10:34
2- 10:33
3- 10:47 (waiting at crosswalk)
4- 9:51
5- 10:02

Hey, negative splits so I guess its not all bad.

I have been very busy at the Fire Department the past couple weeks. Seems we have an arsonist or maybe more than one in our district setting fires to abandoned mobile homes. Week before last we had two abandoned mobile homes burn and last week we had two more. One was in the same trailer park as the one from the previous week. The other one was at a closed down mobile home dealer early Saturday morning. They are all happening between 11:30pm and 1:00am. The crazy thing is, several of us have the same person in mind as a possible suspect. Arson is one of those crimes that is very hard to prove since the majority of the evidence is burnt up. The other thing on these are that since they are abandoned mobile homes, there is not as much push for opening an investigation. We shall see, but in a 7 day period of time we have had 4 abandoned trailers lit up so I think it is a pattern, maybe it's just coincidence. All I know these 3 hours of sleep nights are getting old!

Also on Monday last week my 35 year old Mack engine was hit from behind by a dump truck. Luckily no one was hurt. One of my guys was driving the engine to station one and had stopped at a stop sign when the truck bumped him from behind. Bent the tail board up pretty good and buckled the bed some so the chief took it out of service. The good thing for me is that Station 3 got Engine 62 to use till our new truck is finished. I think its a 2004 HME chassis with a Ferra body. Automatic, a/c, full custom cab. Pretty sweet after having to drive standard no air trucks for 15 years.

So we get E62 on Tuesday night. First night we have it she makes one of the mobile home fires. Then early Saturday morning she was first in on the other one. Also Friday our day crews fought an occupied mobile home fire, confining the fire to one bedroom.

After getting to bed at 3:30am on Saturday, I had to be at Station 2 at 8:30 for annual hose testing. Needless to say it was hard to get out of bed. We also had a chili cooking contest for lunch and Annette's chili won the "yummiest chili" award. Sunday was another busy day. 5:30am vehicle accident which we got canceled on. Then around 12:30pm we responded to about a 5 acre grass fire on top of the big hill just south of Greystone. Got that done, washed all the trucks and before we could leave we had to go back to that fire as it had flared back up again. I ended up getting home around 4:00ish.

Try to add on to that mowing, trying to clean the pool, visiting some relatives Sunday night. Oh, and I almost forgot Annette and Michele's new P90x program they are trying to start. Came home and they were on a cleaning binge to get our workout room set up. Needless to say, it was a busy weekend and week!! I have some photos to post but no time....maybe later.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Little Rock Half

I am way behind on posting so I'll try to make this one short. (lol....don't believe it)

Did the Little Rock 1/2 Marathon on Sunday. The day started out very stressful. First off, Saturday night the weather forecast called for a 42 degree start. Kind of borderline for me as to wearing long sleeve or short sleeve shirt and shorts or tights. Actually too warm for tights and I was hoping I could wear my favorite long sleeve that had gotten me through the 15k race and the 1/2 training run in the rain. After getting up Sunday morning, the temp was 50 degrees. Talk about missing the forecast. So now it was plan B, tech t shirt. No big deal other than the one I picked had never been tested on a long run. These are things that one needs to do as some shirts can chaff where others may not. I rolled the dice.

To add to the tension, we needed to meet Michele and some others at 6:15am for the drive down, at 6:45am my phone quit working right. I have a Blackberry Curve and the roller ball all of a sudden started hanging up. I thought no big deal, I'll just pop it out and clean it good with some canned air. I had done this several times with Annette's phone with no problems but after popping mine out, I could not get it to go back in place. It's kind of like doing surgery because the parts are so small and so easy to break. The harder I tried the more it would not go back in place. All I could think about is that I had to have my phone for at least after the race to find out where everyone is. And you can't do much of anything with a Blackberry if the ball does not work. I tried and I tried until finally, I broke it. Yep, I broke the ball, its 6:50am, I still needed to shower and get dressed. We had to meet at 6:15. And one other little thing, it was race day!

Lucky for me I had purchased a roller ball for Annette's phone when she was having trouble. So I grabbed it, out it in my phone and it went right in place. Phone worked, ball worked, everything was good other then it was now a few minutes past 6. Stress!!!

Somehow, I managed to shower, shave, get dressed and get all my gear together in about 10 minutes and at 6:15 we were walking out the door. Met Michele at Team 1 and then found out that Karen had overslept so we didn't have time to wait on her. Off to the races we went.

Since my stress level was now reduced, the race seemed no big deal. My goal was just to stay around a 10:00 average pace and have a PR. My pie in the sky was to run a 2:10. Not fast for some but with my pure lack of training so far this year, it would be a big task. I had only done one run over 10 miles and had only had three over 8 miles leading up to the race so my expectations were really more than my legs should be able to handle. My last half was last April.

After the usual bathroom visits, we found our starting coral and didn't have to wait long and we were off and running. I stayed with Annette, Michele and Jane for probably the first couple miles. We all started separating as we crossed the Broadway Bridge. I felt good and strong but by mile two my right shin and calf was tightening up. At 2.5 I grab water as I slogged through the water stop. By 3 or so the pain in my leg was gone. It was getting warmer and I was starting to sweat pretty good. Much warmer than I would have liked. The next water stop I tried to get some Gatorade down me which required me to walk fast through it. Didn't walk any more than 15 seconds and I was back running. The next stop was close to 6 miles and I wanted my accell gel so I kinda slogged through it. I was keeping a good pace, probably faster than I should have. Average pace here was probably 9:50 which was much faster than my goal so I decided I'd just go with it anyway and bank whatever time I could. I knew I would need it later.

I managed to keep my below 10 min pace up to about mile 10 where things fell apart for a few. There is a long incline leading up to the Governors Mansion and for some reason seeing that for about a mile or so just messes with my head. My legs were starting to tired too just from lack of training and I knew once I turned at the corner, it was only 5k to go. Here I made the fatal mistake of taking a quick walk break to rest my legs and catch my breath. Shouldn't have done it. What cost me time was after I started back running, two blocks later was the water stop. And it was time for my last gel. So, a fast walk here. All in all this probably cost me one minute in time, if that. From there on it was still rolling inclines but I felt better. Tried to push the pace when I could. My average pace was still around 10:05 per my garmin. Nothing spectacular from here other than I passed one of the Grand Prix guys that usually runs about the same time as me. He passed me back then I passed him again when he took a walk break. After that I was determined to make him work to pass me. It paid off in the end. I finished the last couple miles strong. It was nice seeing that finish line though. I knew I had a PR in the bag but I had blown my hopes of a 2:10. Ended up finishing at 2:13:45 which based on race distance was a 10:13 pace. My garmin showed the course a little long at 13.29 miles. Time was the same but my average pace per my garmin was 10:04. Either way it was still a big PR by almost 5 minutes. Still not happy about mile 10 and if it had been a little cooler I know I would have broke that 2:10. Little Rock is a tough course and really not one to PR on. Nashville is next for me at the end of April so hopefully I can train more and have another PR there.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Week in review

Wow, I am behind on blogging. Seems like everyone all of a sudden got on face book and that takes a lot of time just to keep up. Just a quick recap of what I have been up to since the crashes on Saturday.

Saturday night - 11:30pm structure fire, abandoned trailer. No big deal, just a lot of lost sleep. Was back home by 1:30.

Sunday - Was scheduled to be my long run and I needed around 8 miles. After being up late on Saturday and with the time change no way was I getting up to run with the girls. Well, the weather turned warm and I ended up running at 1:00pm. Decided the only way to get it done was to run to James and Michele's, get the bikes off his rack for them and then run back home. Should get me 8+. It was a tough run, mainly because of the heat. Luckily I wore my water belt with 2 bottles to keep me hydrated. By the time I got to James and Michele's. I was dripping with sweat. The temps had gotten to almost 80 degrees. Annette was at the WCR Clinic so I knew I could catch a ride back home with her if I had to. No way. I visited with James for a few as he was hurting pretty bad from the bike wreck then I took off. Pace was slow and I had to do some walking just to cool down. Annette drove by me a couple times asking if I wanted to get in and I said no. Long story short, I got 8.5 miles done in 80 degree weather. Average pace was a 10:57 so it was pretty slow. Luckily it didn't turn in to a death march and I got it done.

Monday - Another warm day. Had too much going to run at lunch so with the new time I ran when I got home from work. It was warm, and my legs felt like lead weights so I just did a 2.1 mile run. 10:08 average pace so not bad considering I guess.

Tuesday/Wednesday - Tuesday night was my FD night so I didn't get a run in. Wednesday the weather was terrible and we went to a birthday party after work so no time.

Thursday - Slugged out 3 miles on the treadmill. Weather was still nasty, rainy, cold. Amazing how it can be 80 on Tuesday and 31 on Thursday. That's Arkansas weather!

Friday - 12:30am Structure fire. Another abandoned mobile home. I'm starting to wonder if there is a pattern developing. Two in less than 7 days though they were not in the same place. Needless to say, we have our eyes and noses out, especially if there is another one soon. Got back home at 2:30am, just in time to get 4 hours sleep before work. Yuck. Luckily I have plenty of good coffee to keep me going!

Saturday we will be attending the Little Rockers Marathon event for the Magness Creek kids where they run their last mile of their marathon. This is a fun event watching all the little kids race and Annette is one of the leaders of the whole group of around 150 kids.

Sunday is the Little Rock Marathon/Half Marathon. Annette and I will be running the half and hoping for PR's. I'm not even going to say a time but I have one in my head. Wondering if a 9 minute PR is doable? Have been having some weird leg pains since running on the treadmill last night. Hope its just tight muscles from sitting at work and stuff. Seemed to be better on the treadmill when I ran faster so maybe I just need to stretch it out. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Will update the blog later this weekend. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Saturday close call

It all started out to be a good weekend. Annette and I were riding to the 2 mile race in Conway with James, Michele, their kids, Russ and Jane. James, Russ and I were going to bike back to Cabot after the race along with Phil C. I had decided I was not racing it as the 2 mile distance might hurt my foot and with next weekend being the Little Rock 1/2 Marathon I didn't want to take a chance.

Everyone had a great race. Afterwards James, Russ, Phil and myself got our bike gear on and head off to Cabot. James had just gotten a new Orbea Ordu Tri Bike and this was only the second ride he had been on with it. We were anxious to see how it would do in comparison to his road bike. There was a very stiff southerly wind so when we pulled out of the parking lot we had a head wind for probably 6 miles almost. I pulled for probably 5 miles then James came to the front to see how the tri bike would be. He immediately hit 23mph and I could not hang. I figured he had to gain at least 2mph with the bike and aero helmet he had on. Once we got turned on Otto Road things were nice. Good smooth road, not much wind. It was actually getting pretty warm though and I was starting to sweat, wishing I didn't have the long sleeve shirt under my jersey.

Let me warn you, there are some fast dogs on Otto Road. Had two come out and chase us and one was a little small dog. I looked down and I was going 20 mph and he was gaining on me. Never seen a dog run that fast! Luckily they didn't take us out. We stopped at Otto Road and Hwy 107 to regroup. Then we headed north towards highway 319. It was just maybe a minute or so later when things went bad.

James was the lead bike with Russ maybe one bike length behind him and then me probably 3-4 behind Russ with Phil behind me about the same. We had somewhat of a nice small downhill, then a slight curve, then the road straighted back up. I noticed on my speedo that we were doing 23mph. Then all of a sudden I see James bike shake on the front and he started going down. Russ tried to swerve to the left to miss him but there was no room and he went down. All of this was happening in split seconds and all I could see was James back sliding across the road in front of me. All I knew is that I didn't want to hit him and go down so I swerved hard left and somehow missed both of them by inches. Phil did the same. It was just like watching the Tour de France on TV when they have a big crash other than this was live. By the time I got stopped and looked back Russ was on the side of the road sitting up and James was laying on the side of the road but moving. Since Russ was closest I checked him for injuries. He was holding his right arm and said "I'm ok, I just have a broke arm". Yes, he did have a bad break, but he was very calm about it. Much calmer than I would have been if it was me. I told him to sit tight and I ran over to James. He was holding his shoulder. I checked it and no bones were poking out so that was good. He was alert, conscious and said it was just his shoulder and side. I figured maybe a broken collar bone and maybe a rib. Phil was on the phone and I started calling 911 for an ambulance. I wanted them checked even if they didn't want to be transported. All the while Phil was grabbing the bikes out of the middle of the road. In less than 5 minutes First Responders arrived from Hilltop and Vilonia Fire Departments. It had to be not much over 5 that MEMS arrived. I lucked out and the two guys on the unit were friends of mine so I knew James and Russ would get extra special care. They told them that unless they wanted a ride to the hospital there wasn't much that they could do which both refused transport as Phil had already gotten Michele on the phone and they were on the way there from Conway. The medics did splint Russ arm and we got a sling to immobilize James shoulder/collar bone. They both had some road rash but nothing severe. James had a spot on the side of his head that looked almost like road rash but it was where his helmet slid on the pavement. Luckily he was wearing one, otherwise it would not have been a good outcome.

Michele and the girls arrived within 15 minutes, probably shocked to see James and Russ sitting hurt on the side of the road. Phil and I got their bikes loaded on the rack and then realized we couldn't go with them. They needed all the room they could. So we decided to just ride on. The MEMS crew did tell me that if we really needed a ride they would make sure we got taken care of but Jackie was on her way to meet us from Conway too so we just rode. The rest of our ride was uneventful and we talked some about what happened. We didn't push the pace and continued on to the BP store at Hwy 5 and 319 where Jackie was meeting us. I got a call from Annette when we got there that they had made it to the ER in Conway and that there was a 2 hour wait so I needed to go pick her and Jane up as soon as I could. Luckily Bailey saw us at the BP and pulled in. She ended up giving me a ride back to my truck at James house. I drove home after that to change and get shoes as mine were in James vehicle in Conway. I was at the ER in less than an hour and the guys just got to go back just shortly after I got there. Since the kids were with Michele, we took the kids home with us and dropped Jane off at her house. This all started probably around 11:15am and it was after 6 before James and Michele got home. Russ ended up getting admitted and they did surgery on his arm/wrist. His break was maybe an inch behind the wrist and seemed to have a lot of damage but the prognosis is good with an estimated 6 week recovery time. James did have a broken distal clavicle (collar bone) and a broken rib. So basically he has to wear a sling till it heals. No surgery needed. Both have a lot of pain for a few days. The bad thing is both these guys were training for the 70.3 Ironman New Orleans in April so now they are out. James also is planning on Ironman Lake Placid which is in July so he may still have time to train for that one. And James new tri bike, well, I got it off the rack yesterday and looked it over. Everything looked good other than the top tube on the carbon frame has about a 2 inch crack in it. I'm sure a bike shop will say it needs replaced. He is hoping his insurance may cover it.

He said his foot came unclipped for some reason and when it did he just lost control of the bike he thinks. He was in aero and that's exactly what it looked like from behind, but things happen so fast we may never really know. One minute your having fun and the next your laying on the side of the road in pain. Could have been much worse, could have been all four of us down or even worse, a car could have been close. All in all we were pretty lucky.

As far as my training, for Saturday I ended up with 24.3 miles with a 17.4 mph average pace. The ride would have gotten us close to 40 if we had got it all done. Maybe next time.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Quick Recap for the week

Monday - 5.0 miles - Treadmill run - Very warm and slow, 10:40 avg pace

Tuesday - 2.2 miles - Treadmill at lunch for a quickie - 9:59 avg pace

Wednesday - Out of town no running

Thursday - 5.0 miles - Ran with Annette and Michele to the Community Center for their Women Can Run Clinic then turned around and ran back home. Very warm outside, 72 degrees plus which we are not used to yet. Luckily we had some brisk winds that helped keep me cool. Avg pace 10:35, would have been better but got stuck waiting on city traffic at mile three to cross the road so I had like a 12:23 pace on that one. Other laps were all under 10:19.

Friday - rest day?

Weekend plans - Going to Conway in the morning to watch the 2 mile race then I am biking back to Cabot with some others. Should get around 40 miles biking if not more. Weather is looking perfect for a bike ride other than the winds maybe. Will try to get around 8 miles in Sunday in preparation for the Little Rock 1/2 next weekend.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial - El Dorado, Ar

This is a great video and they are still raising funds to have this put at the State Capitol. I have two friends whose names will be on this.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Long run and Speed Work

I hate to say it but this week I have been slacking a little on the running side. Looks like I will end up with only three days of running but still have almost 20 miles in. Not really a big deal to me as the quality of the runs is what counts for me and they have all been good.

I had already blogged a little about Mondays lunch run. Ended up resting Tuesday and had Fire Department stuff Tuesday night. Wednesday is suppose to be my tempo run so I put all my numbers in the McMillan Running Calculator and it said I should run my tempo runs between a 9:40 and 10:05 pace. Sounds about right. So I told Annette we would shoot for a 9:40 pace after a 1 mile warm up. Well, the weather was not in our favor. It had gotten hot for a noon time run. It was 65+ degrees and we were really not used to that. First mile I tried to keep things slower. Ended up being a 10:04. Hey tempo pace upper end. Second mile was a 9:48 and the third mile we really picked up the pace and mine ended up being a 9:24. Actually too fast, but for average pace I ended up with 3.1 miles @9:45 so I was dead on tempo. Afterwards Annette and I both commented how hard the run was. It felt more like race pace, but I know it was because of the warm temps, plus we were still recovering some from the 15k.

Thursday my foot was a little sore so I took off and Friday is almost always a rest day. Saturday called for a 13.1 mile long run with the Cruisers on the Little Rock Marathon 1/2 route so I figured it wouldn't hurt me to have some extra rest days. I like to listen to my body and now when it says something hurts, I don't run.

Saturday was looking like a not so fun run, it was raining Friday and calling for rain and cold Saturday. Not another 15k day I thought. It was Jane's birthday so this run was dedicated to celebrating her birthday. We met the group at the Clinton Library and just after 7:30am we were off and running with right at 25 Cruisers. We had a good large group which was nice since some of the areas we were running in were not so nice. Temps were around 39 degrees.

It started drizzling somewhere around the 2-3 mile mark. Not bad at all, just enough to to make my hat drip a little but not enough to get my feet wet. Ended up being me, Annette and Jane in our little pace group. There were probably 3 or 4 other groups depending on pace and we had 4 bikers out running support if we needed it. First 4 miles were awesome and I kept the girls pacing between 10:30 and 10:40. Took a bathroom break just past mile 4 and then it was a lot of stop and go dealing with red lights and traffic. This slowed our pace some but we were not trying to push it at all. This route also has lots of "inclines" and it always seemed like more ups than downs. The rain started getting worse around mile 9 but never just a downpour. By mile 11 I could feel the ball of my foot starting to get a blister. I think it was because I had taped my foot up for the Plantar and with all the stop and go at the intersections, it was causing the ball of my foot to get a lot of extra use. The girls also started having issues around 11 so we seemed to slow down a lot. Just before mile 13 the girls called the "Scarlata Rule", we were stopping out run at 13.1 and walking the rest of the way in. Which worked out great giving us almost .7 for a cool down walk. Afterwards we met up with the group at the Rivermarket for breakfast, coffee and just hanging it.

Even though conditions were cold and wet again, I had an awesome run and felt great the whole way. I could have ran much faster but I wanted to stay close to the girls. If things will hold together I should have a great 1/2 time in two weeks and possibly a big PR. Just never know what race day will bring though. Last year it was extremely warm temps so times were bad.

Overall, 13.1 miles in 2:26 was not bad for me in a training run. My PR for the 1/2 is 2:18 so I'll be shooting for a 2:10 or better. Little Rock is really not a PR course but I'm gonna try.

Annette and Jane running downtown

Jane and Annette in front of the Governors Mansion right at mile 10

Me and Annette at the Governors Mansion